Normally, this isn’t a blog where you expect to see children’s clothing, or at least only very occasionally (I once showed you a ready-made-shirt, but already looong ago, the post doesn’t even exist anymore).That is because I am no mother myself, neither are most of my friends and my brother’s daughter lives very far away, so we don’t have much contact and normally I hesitate to sew something for her. Not only because I can’t check the fit on her, but also because her mother is not that cautious with clothing and wouldn’t pay attention on how to wash a hand-sewn garment. She is one of those “buy cheap and often”-girls, so it is not that important to her if a shirt discolours or shrinks. That is not meant to be offending, but is only a completely different attitude than my own. So before I make something for my niece I always have to question myself “would I be disappointed if this were destroyed in the washing machine after being worn once?”.
My niece turns three in September and somehow I went mad. I did not only decide to sew her something, but it also turned out to be one of the tidiest projects I ever made.
Normally you don’t want to see the inside of my garments. I always plan to serge the cutting edges but after having closed a seam I often skip it and go on assembling the garment. In the end, I often end up with a completely non-serged garment on which I have to remove loose threads from the raw edges after every washing. Not very beautiful and I am not content of this. But a few days ago I discovered Laura Mae’s Blog and was speechless seing the insides of her garments. So perfect and tidy. This lead me to rethink my own sewing-practice: Of course I sew because I like to create new garments, because I want to control what I add to my wardrobe and not to be dependent on shop-bought clothes. But what for if I blush everytime someone catches a glimpse of the inside of my hemming, if I have to pay attention not to dress in self-made clothes when I know I will have to change clothing when others can see me?
Of course, finishing all the cutting edges with bias binding or only serging them properly means more time and more material goes into the garment, but after all, sewing is my hobby, I like to do it, so why shouldn’t I do it properly. Maybe that means I will sew less, not only because it will take longer to finish a project but also because it will cost me a little more. Or maybe I will sew more, because I will love my clothes more than before, because I will be happier when wearing them. Who knows?
So, to cut a long story short: I want to change my sewing habits, I want to pay more attention on how I sew and not only what I sew and how long I sew. Funny enough, the first project I tried this was the dress for my niece. You may call this casting pearls before swine, paying so much attention to a garment that may not survive long, but I wanted it and maybe this additional seam finishing will help it survive longer? To be honest, I don’t care. I hope my niece will be happy when seing it and wearing it for the first time (ok, first of all I hope it will fit her), all the rest is of minor importance to me, après moi le déluge.
Now, let’s talk about the dress. I chose a 1970ies burda-pattern for a children’s pinafore-dress. I asked my mother to measure my niece, but she said size 92 would be safe, because now she wears a 86 (her birthday is in less than a month) and she doesn’t grow very quickly at the moment. I waited nontheless to give my mother the opportunity to measure her. A week later I called her again, but she hadn’t seen her the whole week and advised me to stick with this size, even though I was a little concerned because of the age of the pattern (we all know it from women’s sizes how they changed during the past decades, I don’t know if it’s the same with children). We only had a short chat because my elder sister was with her and I didn’t want to disturb the two. In the evening, after I had spent the afternoon copying the pattern and cutting the fabric, my mother called again and said that my sister would advise me to make it one size larger (98), so that she can wear it a little longer. Well, too late, I had already cut everything. Please, kord
please, let it fit her!
I chose a purple and orange patterned plaid corduroy. I love it because the plaid is only visible on the woven ground whereas the pile is completely purple. I bought it years ago to make a short plaid skirt from it, but I won’t sew such a skirt anymore and I imagined it to be perfect for this dress. Secondly this gave me the chance to face my plaid-paranoia: I only made one plaid-project ever and this turned out to be a catastrophe, so I avoided plaid fabrics afterwards. And this time it worked, I managed to understand the principle, how to match the pattern at the seams, I am so happy and I am confident to work with plaid again soon. So this little children’s dress was exactly what I needed to overcome my fears, hurray! Unfortunately I didn’t manage to place the pattern properly on the upper front piece, I tried to centre it (the plaid is sligthly off-centre), but it is a little askew horizontally, too. You can tell when you look closely.
The buttons once closed an orange winter-coat of mine, now they found a second life. The buttons on the pockets have no function, but are merely decorative. I decided a gainst buttonholes to close the straps, but went for large snap fasteners instead. So to be honest, all visible buttons are merely decorative.
If you compare my version to the envelope drawing you will see, that my straps don’t intersect in the back. That’s because I made a mistake when attaching the straps to the bodice, leaning them in the wrong direction. I hope this won’t turn out to cause the straps slipping from the shoulders.
The upper front part, the pockets and the straps are stabilized with fusible interfacing. For the facings and the pocket-lining I used leftover bits of an Ikea-fabric I found in my stash.
All seams are finished with orange rayon bias-binding, using the purple thread I made the whole dress with. I also used it to hem the dress, because the major concern of my sister was that it would be too short for her. With the bias binding I managed to lengthen it at least a little bit. But it stays a very short dress, as was already visible on the pattern envelope.
(maybe I will shorten the straps a little, because of the lacking intersection they are a bit too long)
Yeah, centre back zipper, that’s it. I will add the other half of the snap fasteners when I will meet my niece the next time, so I can adjust the straps properly.
(I hope it will hang differently when worn, so that the hem will be straight and not shorter in the back as in this photo)
I hope you like it, love